Five semi-finalists for Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s (IFBF) Grow Your Future Award have been announced, and the public has the chance to narrow this contestant pool down to three. In its fourth year, the Grow Your Future Award elevates young farmer entrepreneurs and provides an opportunity for them to expand their ag-related business with cash prizes.

Online voting opens Dec. 6 and runs through Dec. 12 for the following businesses:

  • Lillie Beringer of Beringer Family Farms Beef in Jones County is a 3rd generation farmer who raises 21-day, dry-aged Angus beef she sells direct-to-consumer through local pickup and “beef boxes” which she ships across the United States.
  • Jade Moret of Holland Flower Farm in Sioux County specializes in custom-cut flowers, selling through farmers markets, flower “subscriptions,” private floral arrangement workshops and bulk blooms for events.
  • Melissa Nelson of Hungry Canyon in Woodbury County creates agriculturally-accurate greeting cards, gifts and apparel and has a special collection— “Wait For Me”— that puts an emphasis on child farm safety.
  • Ashley and Zachary Wenke of Pleasant Grove Homestead in Poweshiek County raise slow-raised American Guinea hogs, broiler (meat) chickens, egg-laying chickens and turkeys on pasture. They also sell a variety of homegrown fruits and vegetables and produce their own honey.
  • Tanner Sanness of Reconnected Farms in Allamakee County grows between 5,000 to 8,000 pounds of organic gourmet Lion’s Mane and Oyster mushrooms every year sold into grocery stores, farmers markets and local restaurants.
The three finalists who emerge from the public voting period will participate in a “pitch-off” in front of a judging panel in early January 2022. Winners will be announced on Jan. 29 at IFBF’s Young Farmer Conference in Des Moines with the first-place winner receiving $7,500 cash prize; 2nd place $5,000; and 3rd place $2,500.

“We continue to be impressed by the caliber of entrepreneurs who compete in the Grow Your Future Award,” says Amanda Van Steenwyk, IFBF farm business development manager. “We encourage all Iowans to vote for their favorite business. Iowa agriculture is incredibly diverse, and we especially see that in the vision of our state’s young farmers who honor Iowa’s proud ag heritage while also paving their own unique path.”